Estate Planning is Not as Scary as it Seems

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Estate planning . . . you’ve never really thought about, and when it does cross your mind, you think, “I’ll have time to do that when I’m a little older.”  It can be scary so you procrastinate.  Yes, meeting with an Attorney, discussing your life, children, guardians, and how you want to leave your estate can be more than just morbid, but also outright scary.  However, the nightmares really begin if you avoid making the choices for a smooth estate plan.  Let’s review a few possible nightmares, to help you avoid them:

Nightmare #1:   Many times I have heard “I didn’t want to create an estate plan when I was younger because I didn’t know who to name as guardians for my children.”  I agree that is a huge decision, however, if you don’t make it for yourself, someone else will. The majority of us in our 20s, 30s and 40s, will live to see our 80s.  So take comfort in the fact that the guardianship provision in your Will has a very slight chance of being used.  But that slight chance is still worth planning for, so you can control the decision.

Nightmare #2:  No planning.  If you decide you don’t want to face these decisions and decide to do nothing, chaos could ensue.  It depends on the size of your estate, your family situations, and what you have in joint tenancy.  But like a guardianship, if you don’t decide who to leave your estate to, someone else will.  Specifically the Illinois Legislature.  The Illinois Probate Act lays out who an estate goes to if there is no Will.  This may not be your ideal plan.

Nightmare #3:  You have beautiful furniture, jewelry, and antiques, but no plan as to who gets these heirlooms when you pass.  If family members want the same items, there may be lawsuits, which may cost more than the heirloom itself.

Meeting with an attorney and facing these decisions is not scary.  It is something that everyone should do to ensure that what they have in mind for how their estate should pass is put in legal form.  By making the plan, the nightmares subside. 

 

Nicole E. Fasano, J.D., CTFA is the Vice President, Wealth Advisor & Personal Trust Manager for Alpine Trust & Investment Group.

 

 

 

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